Jewish Law at Harvard


Why law? Why now? Has law become the new fetish object of Jewish intellectual culture? Harvard just set up a brand new center for Jewish and Israeli law at Harvard, no doubt with a pretty penny.

But is the following statement even true, apart from the fact that Dean Minow in fact said it?

Throughout history, Jewish law has made profound contributions to legal thought and practice, and it remains vibrant and relevant around the world,” Harvard Law Dean professor Martha Minow said in a Harvard news release on Tuesday. “[T]he Julis Family has created significant new opportunities for our community to explore this living legal tradition as well as the laws and legal discourse of a nation, which shares the same roots and many new branches.

“Impact”? “Vibrant”? “Relevant”? To whom, when and why?

The timing seems to have something to do with Islam, and maybe a conservative yen in Jewish intellectual life for normative authority.

You can read about it here.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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